Australia: Commuters sick of waiting for high-speed rail options - - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Commuters sick of waiting for high-speed rail options

01:15  14 october  2019
01:15  14 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Higher - speed rail (HrSR), also known as high-performance rail , higher-performance rail , or almost- high - speed rail , is a jargon used to describe inter-city passenger rail services that have top

The MBTA Commuter Rail system serves as the commuter rail arm of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's transportation coverage of Greater Boston in the United States.

a person wearing a suit and tie sitting in front of a laptop: A return train trip and work in Sydney for Wollongong resident Harris Cheung takes up to 14 hours out of his day. (Justin Huntsdale, ABC Illawarra)© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation A return train trip and work in Sydney for Wollongong resident Harris Cheung takes up to 14 hours out of his day. (Justin Huntsdale, ABC Illawarra)

While most of his neighbours are still sleeping in a suburb south of Wollongong, Harris Cheung is out of bed, preparing for the almost two-hour commute ahead of him.

The train he will catch to work in Sydney takes an hour-and-a-half — the same time it took to travel the route on a steam train in the 1930s.

When Mr Cheung moved to Wollongong for family reasons he hoped the spectacular beaches of the Illawarra would make for a better life.

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High - speed rail in Australia has been under investigation since the early 1980s. Every Federal Government since this time has investigated the feasibility of constructing high speed rail

However, a high - speed line will only cost 9 per cent more than a conventional line and will alleviate pressure on existing networks.” There are other measures that can increase capacity on existing networks, says Steven Brown, director of rail at engineering consultancy Ramboll.

Instead, he spends up to 14 hours a day working and commuting to bustling North Sydney.

"It would make life a lot easier if the train trip between Wollongong and Central is less than an hour, which I think is quite doable," he told the ABC.

Around 35,000 Illawarra residents commute outside the region for work each day, with around 26,000 heading to Sydney, the vast majority making the trip in a private vehicle.

With an average speed of 57 kilometres per hour, the train from Wollongong to Sydney is a slog. The Perth to Mandurah line, by contrast, has an average speed of 85 kilometres per hour, according to transport expert Associate Professor Phillip Laird from the University of Wollongong.

Transport the missing link

As more Australians decide to commute daily from locations like the Gold Coast to Brisbane, Geelong to Melbourne, or the Blue Mountains or Central Coast to Sydney, they are finding transport can be a deal breaker.

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The Illawarra's local business chamber has found the Wollongong commute rates poorly against these comparable trips.

Despite promised improvements like new carriages with more room, Mr Cheung remains unimpressed.

"You can have the best trains in the world but if it is as slow as it is now, it doesn't make any sense at all," he said.

A recent poll by IRIS Research has found more city dwellers would move to outer suburban and regional areas if strong transport links such as fast rail were in place.

Professor David Henscher from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies said their latest survey asked about the attraction of a one-hour commute.

"There is always this trade-off between housing affordability, residential location and, of course, jobs," he said.

"And one of the things we are promoting is not just relocating due to improved rail systems and having to commute back, there is also the real possibility of having some decentralised jobs because industry is more prepared to relocate under those conditions."

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Louis Thompson of the High - Speed Rail Peer Review Group testified at both recent legislative Fourth, the state could recommit to long-haul high - speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles as If it means creating a faster alternative for rail commuters now sharing tracks with freight trains in the

Mumbai–Ahmedabad high - speed rail corridor. Read in another language. Watch this page. Edit. Mumbai–Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor is a high - speed rail line currently under construction. When completed, it will connect the cities of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and India's economic hub Mumbai.

He said in locations close to a major city, speeding up trains to 100 or 150 kilometres per hour would be enough to get the job done.

Solutions a long way away

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said a 35 per cent jump in train usage from locations south of Sydney over recent years shows government transport plans are working.

But the long-anticipated wait for new rail alignments or expensive tunnels that would make a real difference to commute times is ongoing.

"We have a global leading expert in Dr Andrew McNaughton who is looking at fast trains through the Illawarra and down to Nowra and part of that is looking at the alignment of the tracks," he said.

"We have engaged the best person in the world to give that advice, his report is due by the end of the year and we will go from there."

The process could stretch out a long way into the future — too long for Mr Cheung.

While he has considered working closer to home, the options in his profession are very limited.

"Every week I check job ads and things like that, in the area of my career," he said.

"There are maybe five in a year that I could apply for [in Wollongong] but in Sydney there's five every day."

The Australia Talks National Survey asked 54,000 Australians about their lives and what keeps them up at night. Use our interactive tool to see the results and how their answers compare with yours.

Then, tune in at 8.30pm on November 18, as the ABC hosts a live TV event with some of Australia's best-loved celebrities exploring the key findings of the Australia Talks National Survey.

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